With the arrival of the bees imminent (we have ordered two nucs, pronounced nukes, that are small colonies of bees created from larger colonies ie. nucleus hives) I thought I should get a taste for what beekeeping can be like so I tagged along with Chris while she inspected Kelly’s hives north of Chelsea, near Wakefield.
There are a couple of hives but we only worked with the most docile of the two, checking the frames for overall hive health to see whether much honey or pollen is being stored, looking at brood numbers (eggs, larvae and pupae), searching for the queen bee (I found her – very exciting!) and switching the brood chambers so the top one was at the bottom and vice versa.
This is Chris’ second year of beekeeping and it was a great opportunity to check out her equipment, see how she does things like packing and lighting the smoker, and just start getting familiar with bees.
- Remember to wear light (preferably white) clothing.
- Can use pine needles as fuel for smoker with plenty of green grass stuffed in the top to cool it down – make sure you check the heat of the smoke before using on the bees; it should be as cool as possible.
- Don’t stand in front of their entrance way
- Take note of the weather – if it looks like a change cool change or cloudy weather/rain is on the way it might be a good idea to pack up and go back another day; bees are easier to deal with in sunny warm weather better.